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5 Best Sales Emails That Get Responses

Writing a sales email that gets a response has never been harder.

According to The Radicati Group, half of the world now uses email, and the total number of business and consumer emails sent and received each day will exceed 347.3 billion in 2023!

That’s a lot of noise for your emails to cut through.

How then can you make your B2B sales emails stand out from the crowd, and crucially, get responses?

Here at Cognism, we’ve studied the B2B data from our own sales cadences. We've identified five email templates that get above-average response rates - quite simply, these are the best sales emails out there.

If you’re struggling to craft a sales email that works, or you don’t know where to start - then read on!

Get some top tips for increasing your email response rates! Press ▶️ to watch Cognism's sales training video.

1. The first email in a cadence

Subject line: Cognism! 

Hi (first name),

I'll keep it brief as I appreciate you're busy.

Would (company) benefit from a platform that puts you in touch with your ideal customer at the optimal time, and on average reduces the time you and your team spends prospecting by 66%?

I'd be keen to explain further if you have 5 minutes for a brief call?


What makes this a good sales email?

One-word subject line

One simple word: “Cognism!”

Our email campaigns have shown us that one-word subject lines lead to higher response rates. The use of our company name creates intrigue and makes sure it sticks in the prospect’s mind.

It's short and concise

At only 60 words, this email is shorter than the average sales email, which is 125-150 words.

Our campaigns demonstrate that the shorter the email, the higher the response rates.

It's personalised

The email mentions the prospect’s name and their company name. We’ve found that including both increases conversion rates by up to 20%.

Personalisation can determine the success or failure of a sales email - make sure yours includes it!

It's easy to read

Keep the sentences and paragraphs as short as possible.

If a sales email isn’t easy for a prospect to read, it’ll simply go straight to ‘Deleted Items’!

Includes facts and statistics

The SDR has included a statistic that shows the prospect the value of the Cognism platform.

Clear and simple CTA

The prospect is being guided to one single outcome - are they free for a short sales call?

2. The follow-up email

Subject line: Scheduling Our Call

Hi (first name),

Unfortunately we have been unable to connect thus far. With that in mind, did you have time to consider my last email?

Rather than continue to tell you how great Cognism's offerings are, I'm going to let our outstanding reviews, case studies and independent articles speak for themselves.

Alternatively, if I can borrow 10 minutes of your time to showcase our platform do let me know.


What makes this a good sales email? 

Subject line as CTA

The subject line acts as a de facto CTA, directing the prospect to take a specific action.

Also note the length - only 19 characters.

It's short and concise

At 69 words, it’s shorter than the average cold sales email.

The shorter they are, the more chance you have of getting a response!

It contains useful resources and advice

The sales rep has included links to reviews, case studies and articles showcasing Cognism’s value. The links aren’t just to the Cognism website, but to articles hosted on external sites.

Doing this shows the prospect that you’re not just there to sell, you’re providing value for free. The prospect is much more likely to remember you and engage.

3. The referral introduction email

Subject line: One Last Try...

Hi (first name),

Are you the right person to discuss business development strategy?

Alternatively, if it makes sense for me to reach out to one of your colleagues, do let me know.

Cognism is allowing hundreds of organisations to save time and money prospecting new clients. I'd be keen to show you how too.

Do let me know if you're free for a brief call.

Thanks and kind regards,

What makes this a good sales email? 

Humourous subject line

Don’t be afraid to use a little humour! It’s a good way to engage the prospect and get them to open your email.

Remember the old outbound sales adage:

People will forget what you did, people will forget what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.

Again, note the length: very short at 15 characters.

It's brief and to the point

The sales rep has written a direct message that clearly states their reason for emailing.

This email is only 68 words. Don’t waffle; get to the point as quickly as possible.

It includes a value statement

A short statement displaying the benefits of Cognism has been included - the platform will save time and money.

Think of a short value statement for the product or service you’re selling. What's the most important thing, or the two most important things, that it does for your clients?

Short CTA

Always include a CTA. What action do you want the prospect to take? 

4. An email to inbound contacts

Subject line: Whitepaper download

Hi (first name),

Following up on your request for our whitepaper “10 Ways to Improve Your Cold Calling Strategy” I am keen to get your feedback and insights on the guide, as well as offer any further assistance you may need. 

Are you free for a quick chat on (1 business day from now) or (2 business days from now) morning?

All the best,

What makes this a good sales email? 

Clear subject line

The subject line makes it very clear why the contact is being approached. Use the subject line to share the reason why you’re getting in touch.

It's short and concise

The shortest of our templates yet, at only 56 words.

We’ve found that this email has got a 16% response rate, which is 4x the industry standard!

It shows interest

The sales rep is showing that they’re interested in what the contact thought of the whitepaper they’ve downloaded. This is an excellent way to build rapport.

With emails to inbound leads, it’s all about forging a relationship, which you can then build on to potentially make a sale.

It offers advice

The sales rep is offering the prospect assistance. Again, this is a great way to get the contact to engage and build rapport.

It creates urgency

The CTA gives the inbound contact a choice of times in which to respond. The times are not too far in the future.

This is a good B2B sales strategy, as it gives the contact time to read the whitepaper, but not too long for them to forget about it.

5. The break-up email

We asked our friends at Juro, the contract management platform, which of their emails got the highest response rates. They provided us with this winning break-up email.

Alex Moir, their Business Development Representative, told us that this email received very high response rates - both positive and negative!

Subject line: Did I reach out to the wrong person?

Hi (first name),

Haven't heard back from you with regards to making contracts faster and easier. Is there someone else at (company) who would be better suited to talk to about this?


What makes this a good sales email? 

It's short and simple

Only 32 words!

This break-up email cuts straight to the point. This means there's a higher chance that the prospect will finish reading it and hit reply.

It has a provocative tone

The wording suggests to the prospect that they don’t have the authority to make a decision on the matter. When read this way at the end of a long string of sales emails, it can warrant negative responses.

It can also result in a simple “I am the right person, but not right now” type of response, which can give you good leverage to reach out in a few months' time.

Either way - the best sales emails provoke responses from prospects. Silence is the worst thing for an SDR!

The CTA contains a referral request

By asking the prospect to pass them on to a colleague, the sales rep is creating another chance for engagement.

If the referral is successful, it can lead to a very beneficial outcome. This is one of the most powerful tools in a rep's arsenal, as it gives you the credibility of a recommendation by someone working at the same company.

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Those were Cognism’s top five sales emails that get responses. Try them for yourself and see if they make a difference to your email outreach!

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